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AFP
July 13, 2020

Dominant Hamilton cruises to 85th win

Sports

AFP
July 13, 2020

SPIELBERG, Austria: Lewis Hamilton secured his first win of the season and the 85th of his career with a perfectly-judged victory from pole position as Mercedes delivered a one-two finish in Sunday’s Styrian Grand Prix.

The six-time world champion bounced back from a disappointing season-opening Austrian Grand Prix on the same Red Bull Ring circuit a week earlier with a consummate display.

His team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who won the curtain-raising race, finished 13.7 seconds adrift in second to deliver a solid Mercedes one-two, their first in Austria since 2015.

Max Verstappen was third for Red Bull, slowed by slight car damage in the final stages, ahead of his team-mate Alex Albon, who defended stoutly to finish fourth.

Norris came home a remarkable fifth for McLaren after passing both Racing Points cars during a thrilling final lap, Sergio Perez taking sixth after starting from 17th on the grid, and Lance Stroll seventh.

Daniel Ricciardo was eighth for Renault, Carlos Sainz clocked fastest lap and finished ninth in the second McLaren and Daniil Kvyat 10th for Alpha Tauri.

Both Ferraris were eliminated after crashing together at Turn Three on the opening lap, Charles Leclerc apologising to four-time champion Sebastian Vettel, who is in his last season with the team, for his ill-judged dive down the inside that resulted in a disaster for the Italian team.

“I am disappointed in myself. I’m sorry but being sorry is not enough,” tweeted Leclerc.

“Seb hasn’t got any faults today. I’ve let the team down after them working a whole week to bring the updates early. Too eager to gain those places in the first lap. I will learn from it.”

Hamilton made a smooth start from his record 89th pole position, pulling clear of Verstappen and an aggressive Sainz.

There was early drama when the two Ferraris collided at Turn Three, Leclerc bouncing off the kerb as he attempted an over-ambitious move to pass Vettel and crashing into the rear of the German’s car.

The four-time champion’s machine was badly damaged, the rear wing almost removed, and after limping to the pits he was forced to retire.

Leclerc survived, but abandoned the contest soon after the resultant Safety Car had pulled in.

On resumption, Hamilton took control.